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Skillet Cheesy Penne

Author: Michelle De La Cerda


  • 1 lb . ground beef (up to two pounds is acceptable)
  • 1 cup onion; diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup diced zucchini
  • 1 cup diced mushrooms
  • 3 cloves garlic; minced/grated
  • 10 oz . uncooked penne or sturdy pasta
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • cups water
  • 1 tbsp . fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp . fresh oregano
  • 1 tbsp . fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper; to taste
  • 1 ½ cup mozzarella; divided (1 cup and ½ cup) and grated
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese; finely grated
  • ¼ tsp . black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil


  1. In a small bowl, mix the ricotta, Parmesan, black pepper, and ½ cup of mozzarella cheese together and set aside.
  2. In a large pot or casserole brown the ground beef on medium high.
  3. Once the beef has been seared/browned, remove any rendered fat and add about a tablespoon of olive oil.
  4. Add the onions and garlic, and continue cooking the meat for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the mushrooms and the zucchini and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  6. Add the canned tomatoes, herbs, salt/pepper, tomato sauce, and water and mix it well.
  7. Reduce heat to medium, and once the sauce begins to simmer, add the penne (or pasta).
  8. Cover and stir occasionally for 8 minutes.
  9. Remove lid and for the last 6-8 minutes, stir the pasta frequently.
  10. As the pasta cooks and absorbs the liquid, it could begin to stick to the bottom of the pan and it will burn.
  11. Once the pasta is cooked, reduce the heat to low.
  12. Stir in one cup of mozzarella cheese.
  13. Then using a kitchen tablespoon, spoon the ricotta mixture over the top.
  14. Replace the lid and cook on low for about 5 minutes or until the ricotta is “cooked” through and melty. Serve and enjoy.